Monday, December 13, 2010
Making the Grade
Kemba Walker: A+. What more can you ask from a player? He is an excellent leader, a scoring machine, has developed a consistent jumper, plays stellar defense, knocks down his free throws, and does everything this team needs. He has gone far and beyond what anyone expected from him and he is determined to take this team to the Big Dance in his final year at UConn.
Oriakhi: A-. He has been a solid contributor in the paint and the team's best rebounder. While he still needs to develop a post game and show that he can dominate the boards against smaller teams, he has stepped his game up dramatically from last year. He finishes plays around the rim and gets to the line. The sky is the limit to where he wants his game to go.
Napier: B. He has a Jekyll and Hyde side to his game. At times he can break down a defense with his speed, play in your shirt defense for steals and knock down shots, but then he can take threes that aren’t in the flow of the offense, let his defender right by him, and make a sloppy pass in traffic. There is no doubt that he is the future of this team though and he is a much needed spurt off the bench.
Giffey: B. Out of all the freshmen, Giffey has the best defense. Like his offense, it isn’t flashy. He uses his length and foot speed to stay in front of his man and he has a nice stroke when he can get the ball on the wing and have some space. He greatest weakness is his dribbling and he needs to do a better job on the boards, but he has been a pleasant surprise.
Smith. B-. The talent is evident when Smith is on the floor. He can block shots and has a nice stroke from deep, but he hasn’t found the consistency yet. By the end of the year though, he will be a key part to what this team does offensively.
Lamb C+. It has taken some time for Lamb to show his skills, but in the last several games, he has been able to contribute on both ends. His role is still undetermined though. He doesn’t look fluid when dribbling the ball and doesn’t have a tremendous first step, but he has a nice stroke and needs to find ways to get his shooting hand open.
Coombs-McDaniel: C. This was the year for Coombs-McDaniel to step up and he has struggled out of the gate. His jumper isn’t falling, but unlike last year, he is taking the ball to the rim and finishing plays. He has also been hitting the boards better lately. He needs to remain confident and also knock down his free throws, which he hasn’t been able to do.
Beverly: C. Coming off of hip surgery in which he barely practiced, it was evident that he was rusty. He isn’t a flashy player, but he remains a steady ball handler and is able to set up the half court offense. He has been able to get some offense going in the last couple of games, but that isn’t what this team needs from him. They need someone to help take over the point in place of Napier and he has done that.
Olander: C-. Coming into the season, Olander was the most impressive freshman, but he has struggled to find his role on the court. He hasn’t found a way to rebound consistently and his much talked about post game has yet to flourish, but that is asking a lot for a freshman. There is no doubt that he plays with energy but it hasn’t lead to production yet. He will eventually find his comfort zone and contribute more.
Okwandu: D. With Majok leaving, Okwandu had a golden opportunity to seize minutes, but that just hasn’t happened. He has at times been a steady defender, but he is a major liability on the offensive end and doesn’t hit the boards. He’ll find his way into ballgames when others ahead of him are in foul trouble, but this team needs more out of him then what he is giving.